Oh, what a feeling!

Happiness in Hallowell ... I'm back on my bicycle.

Today's accompanying snapshot in time pretty much says it all. Just take a gander at the smile gracing my face. Yes, three weeks to the day of my unfortunate mishap in Rangeley, I was riding a bicycle again.

Excitement. A little bit of nervousness. Relief. Gratitude. Extremely aware of my surroundings. Joy. Freedom. These are some of the thoughts and feelings I experienced during my first pedal, having been off my two-wheeled "mood influencers" for 20 days, which seemed like an eternity. But more than anything else, it just felt normal; my life was back in order.

Because I'm still without a fully functioning middle finger on my right hand, I've had to resort to using the oldest bike in the collection, my 1988 Schwinn Circuit. With its index shifting feature, which is located on the down tube, I'm able to easily change gears with my thumb and first finger.

So far, I've been on the bike six times, covering a total of 142 miles. The first outing totaled 24 miles, with an average speed of 16.2 miles per hour. Convincing enough to show that I didn't lose too much fitness despite the long layoff. Continuing to spin my legs on the stationary bike obviously helped the situation.

Those half-dozen trips also pushed me beyond the 5,000-mile mark for the 2021 season. A little later on the calendar than I had originally intended for that to happen. Such is the cycle of life.

Anyway, I apologize for the briefness of this posting. I've got some catching up to do on my bicycle. And I really have to scoot if I want to surpass last year's total of 6,638 miles, a personal best. Be safe ... believe me, it's something I'm very mindful of these days.

'Thought for the day'

"You want to be like a carpet unrolling. Get faster as the climb goes on." — Chris Carmichael, former professional cyclist and personal coach of Lance Armstrong

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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